Wine Recipe Idea: Bananaberry Wine

Bananaberry WineYou can never have too many fruit wine recipes, so here’s one I thought you might like to try.

Part of the fun of making your own wine comes from the fact that you get be a little creative when making them – to let your experimental-side flourish a little. That’s exactly how this particular wine recipe came into being.

Last year I was thinking about different fruits and how their flavors differ and how some attack the palate in completely different ways than other. After thinking through the different fruit wines I have made and tasted, I came up with this fruit wine recipe.

My goal was to end up with a fruit wine with an array of flavors that complimented one another… a homemade wine that was pleasant and well balanced.

 

Bananaberry Wine Recipe

  • 6 lbs. Peeled & Sliced Bananas
  • 3 lbs. Crushed Blackberries
  • 6 lbs. Chopped Strawberries
  • 10-1/2 lbs. Cane Sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon Pectic Enzyme
  • 5 teaspoon Yeast Nutrient
  • 2-1/2 tablespoon Acid Blend
  • 1 Pkg. Wine Yeast: Lalvin D-47 (recommended)
  • Water to total batch to 5 gallons

 

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Making this wine off-dry, with a little bit of sweetness with bring out its fruitiness much more clearly. Essentially, you can do this by adding sugar and potassium sorbate at bottling time to taste. You can find more details about making the wine sweeter by taking a look at Making Sweet Wines listed on our website. You don’t necessarily need to make the wine sweet — unless you want to — but taking it away from being completely dry will open up the fruit flavors, significantly.

For the basic directions on how to make this wine, follow the 7 Easy Steps To Making Wine at the following link to our web site:

Happy Wine Making,
Ed Kraus
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Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

Springtime Is A Great Time For A Cherry Wine Recipe!

Cherries for making cherry wine.One of the most rewarding wines I’ve ever made was a sweet cherry wine. In general, cherry wine tends to be rich and robust in its overall character. The tartness is mellow from the malic acid that dominates the cherry family. The tannins are firm giving the wines made with it a wonderful structure and body.

The one I made a couple of years ago from the sweet cherry wine recipe below turned out exceptional. It took a few months to age, but once it came around, turns out, it was well worth the wait.

The cherry flavor came through nice and fruity and lingered into a rich, earthy aftertaste. It had layers of flavor that you do not always expect in a fruit wine. Some of this I attribute to the brown sugar called for in this wine recipe. Some of it I attribute to the fruit acids. The Lalvin RC-212 that was used in this cherry wine recipe could have helped out in this department, as well.

Since spring is here it won’t be long before cherries will be in full-swing, so I thought this would be a great time to share it on the blog. The cherries you use can make a difference. As its name implies, you want to be sure to use sweet cherries as opposed to sour cherries. According to my notes, I used a mix of Bing and Lambert cherries, but there are many other varieties of cherries that I’m sure would work.Shop Fruit Wine Bases

 

Sweet Cherry Wine Recipe
(Makes 5 Gallons)

18 lbs. Sweet Cherries (pitted)
9 lbs. Cane Sugar
3 lbs. Brown Sugar
1 tbsp. Yeast Energizer
Pectic Enzyme (as directed on the package)
2-1/2 tsp. Tartaric Acid
2-1/2 tsp. Citric Acid
1 Packet Lalvin RC-212 Wine Yeast
10 Campden Tablets (5 before fermentation, 5 before bottling)Shop Campden Tablets

 

This is a fairly straightforward sweet cherry wine recipe, so for the most part all you need to do is following the basic 7 wine making steps on our website. The only thing different that you should take note of is that the cherries need to be pitted. You do not want the pits in with the fermentation. Also, you do not want to over process the cherries. This can cause the wine to be too bitter. Cutting the cherries in half as you pit them is sufficient. If you are using a cherry pitter, all you need to do is lightly crush the cherries after they are pitted.

I also like to pre-dissolve the brown sugar whenever it’s called for in any wine recipe. This can easily be done by taking 2-parts water and 1-part brown sugar and heating it on the stove until liquid. You will need to stir continuously at first so that the sugar does not burn on the bottom of the pan.

Even if you only make 2 or 3 batches of wine each year, I would urge you to give the sweet cherry wine recipe a go. It makes a remarkable wine that it hard not to like. It’s also pretty easy to make. And as always, you can make it as sweet or as dry as you like, by back-sweetening the wine to taste.

Happy Wine Making,
Ed KrausShop Wine Making Kits
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Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

Dandelion Wine Recipe: Take Back Your Yard!

Dandelion petals for dandelion wine recipe.How about making some dandelion wine with the dandelion wine recipe below?

Most of the changes that spring brings are well received, like: warmth, sunshine, longer days, but there are a few changes that are not as welcomed. For most, the dreaded dandelion falls into this latter category. That’s why for some, making a bit of dandelion wine might strangely feel like a bit of revenge. Below is a dandelion wine recipe to help exact your revenge.

Dandelion wine is one of those traditional wines that has long served as a symbol of country winemaking – that classic wine creation that comes from the little ol’ winemaker everybody knows. Even though dandelion wine has a deep-rooted past in American culture, there are plenty of home winemakers still making it today and enjoying every bit of it.

So, what does dandelion wine taste like, you ask? This dandelion wine recipe makes a light-bodied wine with a beautiful yellow color. It’s flavors are herbal and muddled with an incredible bouquet that is bright and full of herbs and flowers.

The trick to making a good dandelion wine is to use the dandelion petals, only. Stay away from any of the green. The greens will add a vegetable-like character to the wine that will seem foreign and out of place.Shop Fermenter

Spring is the perfect time to make some dandelion wine, so here’s a 5 gallon dandelion wine recipe to get you going. It’s not that different from other country wine recipes. The types of ingredients are basically the same. A double-shot of nutrient is needed to make up for the lack of nutrients that you would normal get when making a wine from fruit. Plenty of acid blend is need as well for the same reason. Dandelions are not high in nutrients or acid.

You can vary the amount of dandelion petals quite a bit without affecting the rest of the dandelion wine recipe, but as a warning, adding to many petals could give you a wine the has a very hard time aging out into something you’d really want to drink. More petals is not necessarily better. While the wine recipe asks for 6 quarts, you could reasonably go up to 10 quarts.

 

Dandelion Wine Recipe
(Makes 5 Gallons)

 

Making this dandelion wine is pretty straight-forward. You will want to be sure that the dandelions are herbicide and pesticide free. For this reason it is best to pick them from an area you are familiar with. Once you have petals together, you will want to wash them in cold water – remove any ants or other insects – then blanch them by pouring boiling water over them and letting them steep in the water for 5 minutes. Don’t use any more boiling water then necessary. Be sure to use all the water from the blanching in the dandelion wine recipe, itself, as part of the 5 gallons.

Once you’ve gotten this far you can use the 7 Easy Steps To Making Wine as the instructions for making this dandelion wine recipe.

Shop Wine Making KitsAnyone else have a dandelion wine recipe they’d like to share? Just leave it in the comments below!
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Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

My Favorite Strawberry Wine Recipe

Wine made from strawberry wine recipe.If you could take springtime and put it into a bottle you would most likely end up with something close to a strawberry wine. For me, strawberry wine is the very essence of spring. Its flavor is bright and fresh. Its aroma is floral and sweet. As far as I’m concerned strawberry wine represents all things spring quite well.

If fresh strawberries are not already available in your area, they will be soon. With that in mind here is a strawberry wine recipe that you can use to get your springtime groove on. It’s a wine recipe I have used several times with great results. I couldn’t think of a better time to share it than right now!

 

Strawberry Wine Recipe
(5 Gallons)

19 lbs. Strawberries
10 lbs. Cane Sugar (1.090)
4 Tsp. Acid Blend  Shop Niagara Mist Fruit Blend Wine Kits
5 Tsp. Yeast Nutrient
1/2 Tsp. Wine Tannin
Pectic Enzyme (as directed on package)
1/4 Tsp. Potassium Metabisulfite (or 5 Campden Tablets)
Wine Yeast (recommend Lalvin 71B-1122)
10 Campden Tablets (5 before fermentation, 5 before bottling)

 

You can use the basic wine making directions that are on our website for making this strawberry wine recipe. Just be sure to remove any stem or green parts of the strawberry before using. You do not need to crush the strawberries. Just give them a coarse chopping. The strawberries will breakdown and release all their goodness during the fermentation.

Shop Fruit Wine BasesOne variation I have done a couple of time when making this is to exchange 2 pounds of the sugar for 3 pounds of raspberry spun honey. This exchange will keep your starting specific gravity about the same. The raspberry honey will intensify the sweet, perfume-y bouquet this wine likes to give. Essentially, it’s giving you more of one of the features that makes strawberry wine so great.

Another great thing about making this strawberry wine recipe is that it does not need much aging. So many wines are consumed before they reach their best simply because they need so much aging. Fortunately, that’s not the case with making strawberry wine.

I would not attempt to bulk-age the wine for any length of time, at all. Give it plenty of time to clear, but after that go straight into the wine bottles. Once in the bottles, give your strawberry wine at least one month to develop its bouquet. It will taste its best at around 4 to 6 months. Don’t let it sit around for any more than 1 year. Drink up!

Do you have a strawberry wine recipe you’d like to share with other home winemakers? Just leave it in the comments below. We’d love to see what you’ve got cookin’!

Happy Wine Making, Shop Wine Making Kits
Ed Kraus
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Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

Try This Amazing Blueberry Wine Recipe

Homemade Blueberry WineIf you’ve never made wine before, I would submit to you that making a blueberry wine is a perfect place to start.

For one, blueberry wine is any easy wine to make. And, it only requires the most elementary pieces of wine making equipment. Secondly, it makes an INCREDIBLE wine. Blueberries, quite frankly, are well suited to making wine. The flavors come through fruity and bright.

Secondly, it’s springtime and blueberry season is just around the corner, so what better time to get your ducks-in-a-row and everything squared-away, so that when they do come in you’ll have exactly what you need and know what to do.

The blueberry wine recipe below is very simple to use. All you need are the ingredients listed and to follow the basic wine making directions that’s are on our website. The blueberries can be fresh or frozen. Either way will work equally well in the recipe.

To prepare the blueberries all that is required is that the berries be lightly crush. You can do this by hand, or you could use something like a potato masher. You do not want to crush the berries too much, and you definitely do not want to break any seeds. This could unnecessarily add a bitterness to the wine.Shop Grape Concentrate

 

Ed’s Blueberry Wine Recipe
(Makes 5 Gallons)

13 lbs. Blueberries (lightly crushed)
11 lbs. Cane Sugar (table sugar)
1 tbsp. Yeast Energizer
Pectic Enzyme (as directed on its package)
2 tbsp. Acid Blend
Red Star Montrachet Wine Yeast
10 Campden Tablets (5 before to fermentation, 5 before bottling) Shop Wine Conditioner

 

One of the fun thing about making your own wine is that you get to make it as sweet or as dry as you like. If you do nothing more than follow the directions, you will end up with a dry blueberry wine. But if you want to make a sweet wine, you can sweeten the blueberry wine to taste just before bottling. Just remember, if doing so, to also add potassium sorbate along with the Campden tablets called for in the blueberry wine recipe.

Now, doesn’t that sound simple? I imagine the hardest part is keeping your patience in tact. Be sure the fermentation has completed and give it plenty of time to clear up before bottling. Once in the bottle, realize that aging the wine will dramatically improve its quality over the first couple of 3 months. After that drink up.

If you need wine making equipment to make the wine, the “Your Fruit!” wine making kit is taylor-made for making this blueberry wine recipe. Not only does it have the equipment you’ll need, but it also has plenty of the basic wine making ingredients for making many different kinds of wine – all at a discounted price.

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Wine of the Month: Pear Wine

Our wine of the month is pear wine. This lightly colored, sweet wine packs in the nutrients given the healthful properties of its main ingredient: pears. In addition to a delicious recipe, we’ve got some useful tips so you get the most flavor out of your wine.

Why should I make pear wine?

Pears are a member of the rose family of plants and are chockfull of antioxidants, dietary fiber, and flavonoids. In fact, about half of the fiber found in the pear can be found in its skin. The phylonutrients contained in this delicious fruit not only contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory flavonoids, but also contain cinnamic acids that can help prevent cancer and decrease the risk for Type 2 Diabetes. Pears, along with apples, are known to have the second highest number of flavonols among all fruits and veggies.

Now let’s get to the wine part. Due to the fact that pear wine is a fruit wine rather than a grape wine, it has a higher ORAC content. In short, this means that it’s winning the antioxidant game. We’ll cheers to that!

Recipe:

Makes about 5 gallons
20lbs of Pears
10 lbs. of Sugar
1 tbsp. of Yeast Energizer
1/2 tsp. of Pectic Enzyme
3 tbsp. of Acid Blend
1/2 tsp. Wine Tannin
Yeast EC-1118

There are a few things to keep in mind while you’re making your pear wine. For the best results, you should slightly over ripen the pears. This is key, because they aren’t an extremely flavorful fruit by nature. If you don’t let them ripen, the wine will have more of an apple flavor. Let them get extremely soft (without rotting) and you’ll set yourself up for success. Also ensure that you rinse your pears before you crush them.

Where and how can I find pears?

The state of Washington is the largest grower of pears in the United States. It accounts for half of all of the pears distributed in the country, followed by California and Oregon. Most of the pears found in US grocery stores fall into the European Pear category. They can be found in green, yellow, red, gold, and brown. Once you find them at the grocery store, you’ll need to give them a few days to ripen. Just make sure you watch them carefully, because once they ripen, they tend to perish quickly. It can be hard to determine ripeness because many pears do not change color as they ripen.

What foods does pear wine pair best with?

Given pear wine’s light and refreshing taste, it pairs well with bold and flavorful cheeses like blue cheese and goat cheese. Spread some cheese on a cracker and sip some pear wine in between for the perfect pre-dinner snack. As for main courses, pear wine tastes great with white meats, either baked or roasted. Finish off the meal with a fruit or nut-based dessert and you’ve successfully and deliciously paired your pear wine!

Wine of the Month, Wild Grape Wine

Our wine of the month is wild grape. When it comes to winemaking, grapes are generally classified into three separate groups: wild, wine, and European wine. Wild grape wine can be made with grape varietals such as Muscadine, Fox, and Frost. These grapes are high in acid, low in sugar, and assertive in flavor. We’ve got the lowdown on this delicious recipe! We’ll tell you where to find the grapes, their various health benefits, and which foods they pair best with.

Why should I make wild grape wine?

It comes as a surprise to many that wine can be healthy. When you make wild grape wine, the seeds of the grapes contain polyphenols, which are micronutrients containing anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. Evidence has proven that polyphenols can help prevent cancer, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases. Wild grapes also contain vitamins B1, B6, C, manganese, and potassium. Check out our wild grape wine recipe to get started!

Recipe:
20lbs of Wild Grapes
10 lbs. of Sugar
2 tbsp. of Yeast Nutrient
¾ tsp. of Pectic Enzyme
½ Wine Tannin
Yeast EC-1118

Wondering why this recipe calls for so much sugar? Keep in mind that because wild grapes contain the lowest amounts of sugar, they will need the most added to make wine. Pressing the wild grapes, however, can be done very quickly because a small tabletop press can crush 50-100 lbs. of grapes (about 15 lbs. a time). This recipe should make at least 5 gallons. If you’re a bit rusty on wine making with grapes, check out our guide to give your memory a refresh.

Where and how can I find wild grapes?

Unlike other grapes that tend to grow in clusters, wild grapes grow as separate berries. These are typically a bit smaller than other grapes, and can be black, purple, or dark blue. Fortunately, wild grapes can be found in almost any climate. Their vines, which grow very quickly and tend to climb and envelop structures, can be found along roads, fences, forests, and riverbanks. In fact, the wild grape is also called the riverbank grape!

What foods does wild grape wine pair best with?

The pungent taste and aroma of wild grape wine pairs especially well with rich dishes and meats. Similar to merlot, malbec, pinot noir, and cabernet sauvignon, this variety compliments beef, steak, game, lamb, pasta entrees, and rich cheeses very well. The bold flavor of this recipe will make your meaty and cheesy dishes that much better.

So next time you venture outside, keep your eyes peeled for the winding vines with the dark grapes- they might just help you make your next batch of wine! For more information on the home winemaking process and the tools you’ll need, check out our winemaking equipment and accessories.

Wine Ideas: Strawberry-Rhubarb Wine Recipe

Strawberries And Rhubarb ChoppedStrawberry and rhubarb is a traditional, country combination that has worked deliciously for pies for who knows how long. With that country combo in mind, here’s a wine recipe that takes both great flavors from the pie pan to the wine bottle.

This is a strawberry-rhubarb wine recipe that has been made by several of our customer with great success. Its flavors are rich and layered with a bit of tang that sets if off. It has a glassy, garnet color that is almost irresistible when set on the table in front of family and friends.

While this particular version I experienced was made dry, I’m sure it would do quite well if it were made off-dry or even sweet. Making a sweet wine can easily be done by adding sugar and potassium sorbate (wine stabilizer) before bottling.

Since there has been such success with this particular wine recipe, I thought I’d share it here as well…
Strawberry-Rhubarb Wine Recipe
(Makes 5 Gallons)

2 Cans County Fair Strawberry
5 pounds Rhubarb (cubed, meaty stalk only)
8 pounds Sugar
5 Teaspoons Yeast Nutrient
5 Teaspoons Acid Blend
1 Teaspoons Pectic Enzyme
5 Campden Tablets (24 hrs. before fermentation)Shop Fruit Wine Bases
Water (To total batch to 5 gallons)
1 Pkg. Wine Yeast (Lalvin K1V-1116, recommended)
5 Campden Tablets (Before Bottling)
Use The 7 Easy Steps To Making Wine for the directions.  These directions will lead you through the process. If you need the equipment. The “Your Fruit!” Wine Making Kit will work perfect for this wine recipe.

Have you every made a strawberry-rhubarb wine recipe? If so, why don’t you share your recipe below?…

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Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

Incorporating Fruit into Your Homemade Wine

Have you had success with making homemade grape wine and want to branch out into something a little different? Do you have fruit trees on your property and want to be able to use that extra fruit in your wine-making? Adding fruit to your homemade wine is a little different than making wine entirely from grapes, but it’s not difficult to do.

Beyond Grapes

Homemade grape wine isn’t the only tasty wine that a amateur winemaker can create. Peaches, plums, apricots, cherries, strawberries, currants, blackberries and nectarines are just some of the fruits that can be fermented in wine-making to create wine at home. The best fruits to use are fully ripe and fresh off of the vine. Thus, it’s best to avoid grocery store fruit and deal with your local orchard or farmers market instead. If you have your own fruit trees or plants that’s even better.

Preparing the Fruit

  • To prepare your fruit, clean the fruit gently in a 1:40 bleach solution to get kid of any bacteria, dirt or residue from pesticides.
  • Rinse thoroughly twice with fresh water and pat dry.
  • Cut the large fruit in half and gently remove the stones, if applicable.
  • De-stem, if necessary, and cut out any browns spots.
  • At this point you can either freeze the fruit or proceed by adding it to your wine. Freezing the fruit helps you buy time if your fruit is ripe, but the rest of your wine isn’t quite ready. Some also feel that frozen fruit makes for tastier wine because it breaks down the fiber in the fruit.

Adding Fruit to Wine

Most fruits lack the body and substance to create a tasty wine by themselves so they are generally added to grapes or grape concentrate. To extract the juice, tie the fruit in a cheesecloth bag and mash gently with your hands over a bowl until no solids remain except for the skins. The amount of fruit to be used will vary with the fruit you chose. There are just as many recipes for making fruit wines as there are successful winemakers. All include yeast, sugar and water.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different fruits as you gain experience as a winemaker. Wine-making shouldn’t be limited to just grapes.

Just How Organic Is Your “Organic” Wine?

As much of the world attempts to incorporate more sustainable methods into their production processes, you may wonder what your options are when it comes to drinking organic wine (or beer). Can you tell from a wine label whether it is truly organic?

There are only two farms noted as the first growers to be certified organic, which was based on an inspection of their raw materials, production methods and records by the California Department of Health Services. Only a handful of other wineries have since become certified processors of organic wines.

There are four levels of organic that winemakers can claim to help consumers know what they are really drinking (definitions from USDA guidelines):

  1. 100% Organic.  Wines claiming to be 100% Organic must be made from organically grown grapes and give information about the certifying agency. It can have naturally occurring sulfites, but the total sulfite level must be less than 20 parts per million, and it cannot have any added sulfites. When labeling your product as 100% Organic, it must contain 100% organically produced ingredients and have been processed using organically produced processing aids.
  2. Organic.  Wines claiming to be “Organic” must contain at least 95 percent organically produced ingredients, not counting added water and salt. In addition, they must not contain added sulfites and may contain up to 5% non-organically produced agricultural ingredients (provided the accredited certifying agent has determined the ingredients to be not commercially available in organic form).
  3. Made with Organic Ingredients.  Wines claiming to be “Made with Organic Ingredients” must contain at least 70% organically produced ingredients, not counting added water and salt. In addition, wine may contain added sulfites and may contain up to 30% non-organically produced agricultural ingredients and/or other substances.
  4. Some Organic Ingredients.  This level is identical to “Made with Organic Ingredients” but must indicate the presence of non-organic grapes in the “made with Organic…” statement on the label to qualify.

While it might be difficult to make your own organic wine at home, you can still read “Home Winemaking For Dummies” and come up with some creative wine recipes.